Every Click Helps

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Okay folks, I usually reserve the blog for all things related to Sebastion or anything having to do with Alongrid in general. This week I am going to stray from that path for a little bit. This week I am going to ask for some help from those of you that read my blogs, my stories and what not. I have a very simple request of all of you all. I am going to post a link to my main web site, my Amazon author page, and my Deviant Art portfolio. If you have enjoyed any of my work, anything that I have shared through this blog or my facebook pages, please follow those links and just look around. You might even click on the ‘like’ button if you are feeling particularly helpful. You see, computers keep up with web traffic and those numbers help a budding author out. When you get high numbers it brings attention to your website. This is a good thing. So please, follow these links, ‘like’ my stuff, ‘share’ these links with your friends and ask them to do the same. Chances are, if you have been watching this blog it will be stuff that you are interested in anyway, and every click helps.

Website: http://www.heavymetalcowboy.com
Deviant Art: http://www.hmcowboy.deviantart.com/gallery
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/stevedorning

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Steam Powered Cars

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What would they look like? Believe it or not there were actually steam powered cars. Then along came the gasoline engines that ousted them before they managed to get a good following. But what if they had? What would they look like? That was one of my questions when I wrote them into my Hammertown stories, so I drew pictures of one. This is the closest I have come to the image I have in my head of them. Enjoy.HTcar3

Airborne At Last

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If any of you remember the short stories I was posting on here about Manfred Pennygigg and his faithful manservant, you will remember that we left them in dire straights, trying to come up with a defense against airborne attack from elven dragonriders. I finally managed to write the next scene. It is short. I think the term for it is ‘Flash-Fiction.’ Maybe, eventually I will gather them all up and include them in their own anthology. After all, what is steampunk without dirigibles? Now, witness the birth of a new age in the Dwarven Kingdom. Witness the birth of the age of flight!

Airborne At Last

“But it’s a success, Sir!” Malcom Kennison exclaimed. “You have actually built an airship! His majesty will give you a medal!”
“No, he won’t, Malcom.” Manfred Pennigig glared at his servant. How could the man be so daft! Oh, yes. He was a man, that’s how. “What good is an airship without anyone to fly it? I’ve been trying to find someone willing to fly the thing ever since we started building it, and I haven’t found a single gnome willing to even try. Apparently all but a handful of gnomes suffer from a severe fear of heights, and dwarves are just too heavy. As a result I need to find a crew that’s not scared, that weigh less than dwarves, and are smart enough to be trained in the operation of this thing. On top of all of that, the elves have managed to produce a squad of dragonriders. According to reports they will be using them in combat in less than a month. It’s impossible, I tell you! Impossible.”
“Oh, come now, sir. Not too long ago you were saying an airship was impossible!”
“Well…I sometimes amaze even myself, Malcom. It was nothing really. Any gnome with half a brain could have done it. Maybe I am a little quicker about such things, and maybe I have fewer failures than most…”
“Your humbleness never ceases to astound me, sir.”
“Perhaps I am a little too modest.” Manfred gazed at the boat that hung suspended from the canvas balloon, completely oblivious to the sarcasm that was practically dripping off of Malcom’s statement. The airship wasn’t exactly beautiful. In fact it looked like an oversized dinghy strapped to an extremely large, inflated bed sheet, but it was an actual flying ship. “It is quite the achievement, isn’t it?”
“Quite. You could always pilot it yourself.”
“That would be totally ridiculous. The King would never allow me to risk putting myself within reach of the enemy. My mind is much to valuable here. Besides, I’m afraid I suffer from the same illness as my brethren. Why do you think I hired you? It wasn’t your charm. It was so I would never have to use a stepstool again. Not only is it embarrassing, it’s…high.”
“That kind of leaves you with a problem. Doesn’t it, sir? Perhaps you can automate it somehow. Maybe build some kind of ‘Nixon-control’ unit for it.”
“Of all the ridiculous ideas I have ever heard…” Manfred began, and then stopped. Malcom may not have had many good ideas, but he wasn’t stupid. Manfred eyed Malcom through his bushy white eyebrows. A strange idea was settling in the back of his mind. He shook his head. No, that was just crazy. On the other hand, he had found and trained Malcom to be the perfect man-servant.
“I really don’t like the way you are ogling me, sir.”
Well, almost perfect, he thought. The fact of the matter was, he could be taught. And just looking at him, he probably only weighed a quarter of what a dwarf did. Human bones weren’t as dense, the muscle not as compacted, and Manfred suspected that their skulls was mostly filled with air, but they could be taught. Perhaps that idea wasn’t quite as crazy as he had first thought.
“Malcom, is it true that the best and truest shot come from your race?”
“I think so, sir. My brethren grew up on the sea. It takes a keen focus to be able to fire a weapon accurately while the ocean is swaying underneath you. Why?”
“I think I’ve found my crew.” Manfred circled his manservant, looking him up and down, as if searching for flaws.
“Oh, no you don’t! I am afraid I lack the marksmanship of my brethren. I do have some small skill in that area, but not enough to be one to crew this against dragonriders!”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Malcom. Only under the worst shortage of personnel would I ever dream of lending my own personal manservant to the military. Those buffoons couldn’t possibly utilize your abilities to their fullest. But we could find MEN to fly this ship. And from of the stories I’ve heard they are all probably crazy enough to fly it right down a dragon’s throat.”
Malcom started to protest, but realized that he knew more than a few humans that might actually do just that.
“You would have to offer them something worth the risk,” he said, instead.
“That is the King’s department. I just come up with the brilliant ideas. It’s up to him to bankroll it.”

Intermission

Still no completion date for the story I said was coming. I have read the start of it, but don’t want to start posting it before it is finished. My friend, Pete Faust is writing it and I have enjoyed his descriptions of Hammertown as well as his two Civil Watch Inspectors, Sangor and Boon. I can’t wait to introduce them to you all. On the graphic novel front, I have completed another page, but I don’t plan on posting it unless there is a huge outcry for it. (Listens to the sounds of chirping crickets for a minute or two) ah, well maybe one day.

Update

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I’ve finished page 3 of the Graphic Novel, and I am at 22k words on the 1st full-length story set in Hammertown. Now its late, er early. So I’ll leave you with page 3. I won’t be posting every page, but when I have so much on my plate I will probably post what I have. I do have a guest author working on a short story set in Alongrid, but he’s not finished with it yet. Maybe next week.HCFpg3complete

The Dwarven Military

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The military of the Dwarven Kingdom use the only ‘automatic’ weaponry known in Alongrid. The design is big, clunky and rather unwieldy. Usually the repeating guns are mounted on stationary tripods or wheeled trailers. The power armor used by the Phoenix Guard (powered by boiler backpacks) augment the strength of the dwarf using it, allowing them to carry them into battle. The power armor is divided into many different specialty classes. Some are designed specifically for long range combat and others for up close and personal. Some of them can be retrofitted to do more than one type of job, but it is time consuming and difficult. At the time of my first ‘Hammertown’ story, Sebastian Locke owned the only repeating pistol.

Magic in Alongrid

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Okay, we’ve touched on the major races of my steam punk world. Now I want to touch on the magic system. Keep in mind, I am a Christian writer and I try to write my heroes in such a way that they do not go against the teachings of the Bible. That being said, what is a fantasy story without magic? It says in the Bible to avoid magic. You might that kind of causes a problem for a fantasy writer such as me. Not really. What we call magic is not always the magic that we assume. In my stories, the gnomes and dwarves use what they call magic, but it is actually what we would call science. They use the special properties of minerals combined with their own ingenuity to cause magical effects. Their steam-generating boilers are ran by rocks that when brought in contact with one another create intense heat. They call this mineral magic. Humans have water and music as their ‘magic’. Mostly, it is just trade secrets. They train animals to respond to certain melodies in certain ways. When done correctly, it appears magical. But what about the elves and their magic? The elves are the only ones that use real magic in my stories. And once again you have to define magic. The elves use three different types. There is Ghavari, which is divine or soul magic, Keledrii, or blood and sacrificial magic, and Magrii, which is power derived from demons or evil deities. Of the three types, only the first one would be acceptable for a character holding to the values of the Bible to use. But in writing my stories and creating my heroes I also take into account the fallibility of natural creatures. Sometimes we use ‘bad tools’ to bring about acceptable results. So I try to reflect that in my characters. I am not condoning their actions, just trying to make the stories I create more believable. It is a flaw of the world and therefore a flaw that I try to keep in Alongrid. And that is pretty much the ‘magic’ system in Alongrid.

The Arakryll of Alongrid

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I have really been struggling with trying to find a schedule for this blog. I had originally planned to post here on Fridays, but that apparently isn’t going to happen. So I guess I’ll try posting here on Mondays, since that is the day I post on my other blog. Maybe that will help me keep things straight. Anyway, on with today’s lesson on Alongrid races. Today we study the Arakryll, the spider-people.

The Arakryll of Alongrid

The arakryll are warrior creatures that have the body of a man, but also have the characteristics of spiders. They stand on two legs and have two arms like a man, but that is where the resemblance ends. Their heads are bulbous and their jaws sport mandibles that open vertically instead of horizontally like most intelligent races in Alongrid. In addition to the two ‘human-like’ arms they have two sets of spider-like legs that sprout from their ribcage. These ‘legs’ are strong enough to support them and they use them as weapons when no other tool is handy. Their skin is thick and usually dark in colors to give them additional camouflage in the trees. They are simple, but not primitive. Intelligent, but not really complicated. They work off of a caste system similar to our feudal Japan, with its samurais as the peacekeepers and such. To their warriors, honor is life, although some work more for an appearance of honor than the actuality of it. Most of their weaponry is scavenged from those that they conquer, or made from bone because they live in the trees and have very limited application of fire.

Their cities (like I said) are built in the trees and made from the silk that the arakryll produce from a gland in their mouths. The city itself is constantly changing with the worker crews busily rearranging things as directed by the city architect. The streetsigns are woven right into the streets, and one only need to know what clan the city belongs to in order to read them. They are fierce in battle and usually will fight to the death rather than be captured. Their highly developed sense of honor seems to supercharge the spell-power of the elves, when they manage to capture one for sacrifice.

They live on a series of small islands affectionately referred to as ‘ The Islands of the Skull’. They were rumored to possess an ancient horn that had the power to control the monstrous Kraken, which they used to protect themselves from attack from seafaring enemies.

And that is today’s lesson on Alongrid. I would tell you what next week’s lesson will be, but at the moment I’m not sure myself. There is a plentiful amount to talk about, so I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Humans!

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Yes, I know I missed posting this last week, and I do apologize. It has been extremely hectic these last few weeks. I’ve had a lot going on, but I have also gotten a lot done writing wise. I will try to stay on top of it a little better in the future. On a positive note, I have managed to talk a very talented writer friend of mine to write a short story based in my world and hope to be posting it here soon. Now here is the post I promised for last week, but didn’t get to.

The Humans of Alongrid

The humans of Alongrid spend their lives on the oceans and waterways. They are nomads who travel from one port to the next. Most humans consider it a punishment to serve on land, like one of the dock cities. Their lives are spent mostly on ships of all shapes and sizes, the greatest of which are true SeaKin vessels. These vessels are truly crafted by brilliant shipmasters. The whole vessel is also a musical instrument. As water pours through the hollowed out bones of the hull, it forces air out through holes strategically drilled in them, creating a flute like music. Each ship has its own unique sound, and the sound is used to communicate with ‘silkies’. These silkies are intelligent animals that propel the ship through the water reducing the need for wind power. They live in ‘families’. Each ship is its own family and a tribe consists of several families. A clan is comprised of tribes. They are governed very loosely, by clan-chiefs, and overall by consensus of clan chiefs. Their laws are more guidelines than strictly enforced rules. Humans found on land are usually outcasts and criminals. These outcasts and criminals have caused humans to have reputations as swindlers and thieves because they are usually the ones most land dwellers have the most contact with.

That’s this week’s lesson on Alongrid. Next week I will touch on the Arakryll. The very interesting Spider-people. Don’t miss it!